This week's Singles Round Up sees Charlotte Church in the reviewer's seat with new releases by PEACE, Jessie Ware, Spector, Yeasayer, Rick Ross, Jessica Bailiff, The Joy Formidable and Gabriel Bruce subject to her forthright opinions.
PEACE - Bloodshake
Straight out of the indie pop factory. There are influences of MGMT and Vampire Weekend but none of the flair. Sunny, riff driven guitars complete with african sounding percussive elements and a reasonable vocal sang with that drunken drawl which is almost compulsory in this genre. It has a lovely sonic spectrum, nothing offensive here. I think the lyric is a bit unjustifiably emotive though I did like the ordered chaos of the middle 8.
Jessie Ware - Night Light
Very pleasing soft rock guitars over an uncomplicated, organic drum pattern leaving room for Jessie's inviting vocals. I think inviting is a good word for this track, it makes me feel quite warm and safe, not too taxed. I'm not blown away by the song. I think in a couple of years that voice will have matured into something with serious depth and richness though she does have great variation in her tone and a gorgeous voice. Nice, mellow groove like a "Brownstone" for the modern age.
Spector - Friday Night, Don't Ever Let It End
It kind of sounds like they're taking the piss? Are they?! These lovely fellows said nice things about me before one of their festival sets, so I'd better be kind! It's pretty synth heavy with big "rock" guitars. I'm not fussed on the kick drum sound (I'm quite particular about drums!) It sounds like a punch bag being hit repeatedly. It's OK, it doesn't inspire me. It's a "party" song about going out and having a shit time, I think. It's probably a hit!
Yeasayer - Reagan's Skeleton
This song has a badass bass synth intro, but the beat is disappointingly mundane when it kicks in. I expected more badass from it. The chorus sounds a lot like The Beloved's 'Sweet Harmony' but that aside I like the lyrics, " The laughter from the dark was low at first but became good company". I hasten to add I have no idea what the lyrics mean apart from a paranoid view of the still relevant impact of Ronald Reagans' policies, maybe?!
Rick Ross ft Elijah Blake - Presidential
I love this!!!! Sonically, that is. It reminds me of that R and B Philly sound of the noughties, people like Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild. Sublime drums and great vocals from Elijah Blake who floats above singing "Girls and green is all you need". Rick Ross's musings on life really piss me off. For example the type of 'bitch" he needs is a "pony tail, red nails, still in school bitch" and since he's 36, I don't really think that i'm down with that. Great track, shame about the message Rick.
Jessica Bailiff - Your Ghost Is Not Enough
Miss/Mrs/Mz Bailiff recorded the entirety of the album, that gently holds this track in it's bosom, by herself in the room next to her bedroom. A constant high hat throughout coupled with the incessant drone of a synth, root the track to allow the dreamy vocals to be saturated in reverb to the point of drowning. In fact it sounds like drowning, in a good way. The problem, for me, is I have to be in a really particular mood for this sort of music to reach me. When I'm in that mood I find this song profound and painfully tender, though it's not all the time. Which i'm fine with!
The Joy Formidable - Cholla
I'm a fan of these guys, and this is a very good track from them. It's kind of reminiscent of those mid 90's Irish rock bands that were better than The Cranberries and most likely signed to 4AD. It's heavy laden with ballsy big guitars,inventive drums and the lyrics are beautiful with all their bourgeois pomp. The chorus melody is a little lacking in originality but the stack harmony vocals make that less of a problem. The production on this track is flawless.
Gabriel Bruce - Perfect Weather
The video for this track is astounding, I recommend listening to it whilst watching the video! The horn intro is sumptuous and complemented by the introduction of a lazy but full beat. The vocal kicks in all Neil Hannon and Nick Drake fused with a 60 year old crooning,cabaret singer and, to be fair, who could want anything more from a vocalist?! His voice is luscious and low (on Gabriel's track "Sleep paralysis" he sounds a lot like Mark Lanegan), singing 'We couldn't hope for more perfect weather' . The song gets a little repetitive towards the end but I like this guy, but mostly because of the crazy dancing in the video.
Charlotte Church released her 'One' EP on 15th October.